The federal grand jury in Salt Lake City has issued a felony indictment charging preparation of false income tax returns, while the U.S. attorney lodged misdemeanor charges against three additional people on claims they failed to post income tax returns.

The cases are unrelated, but their issuance at this time indicates the April 17 deadline for filing tax returns is fast approaching.Grand jurors indicted Michael D. Smith on 12 counts, claiming he assisted in the preparation of fraudulent returns during 1983 and 1984. The indictment says he lived in Provo at the time, but does not list his current address.

The felony charges say that Smith claimed deductions for taxpayers' purported investments in an air conditioner project and in research and development plans - deductions to which the taxpayers supposedly weren't entitled.

Misdemeanor charges of failure to file returns were brought by the U.S. attorney's office against Paul D. Phipps, listed as a resident of Buena Park, Calif. and a former resident of Alpine, three counts; Fred Arnold Noack, listed at 11877 Mapleridge Road, Sandy, four counts; and Thomas H. Seaver, listed in Phoenix and a former resident of Roosevelt, three counts.